Winston Churchill in front of BBC microphones, 1945.
Winston Churchill in front of BBC microphones, 1945. Source: Imperial War Museum

Here are proven interview tips that will help you deliver your message clearly and confidently. These interview tips work for social media as well as traditional outlets, such as TV, radio and newspapers.

Be Prepared

Familiarize yourself with the reporter, the publication or station, and its audience. This also applies to podcasts and video blogs (vlogs).

  • Who are they?
  • What are their biases?
  • What do they want to know?
  • What do you want to tell them?

If you are new to media relations or facing a particularly important interview, participate in a media training program.

Be Active

Use the interview to actively deliver information that supports your position and portrays you and your organization in the best possible light. Don’t passively answer the reporter’s questions.

Be Personable

Aim to be pleasant and sincere. If you are perceived as being rude, boring, fanatical or condescending, you’ve given the audience an excuse to ignore your message.

Be Clear

Rehearse your messages and repeat them during the interview. Use short words, short sentences and short answers to make your message quotable and easy to understand. Avoid jargon unless you are certain the reporter and audience will understand it. Anticipate difficult interview questions.

Sixteen Interview Tips

  • Smile when appropriate. It shows you are comfortable and confident.
  • Start your answer with a conclusion, then give supporting facts.
  • Wrap-up long or complex answers by restating your conclusion.
  • Politely (but firmly) correct false accusations, facts and figures.
  • If you are asked about problems, focus on solutions.
  • Avoid speculating or answering hypothetical questions.
  • Don’t bluff. If you don’t know the answer, say so. Then offer to get it, or substitute a related fact.
  • Stay calm and composed.
  • Pause before answering. Use the time to edit and fine-tune your answer.
  • Tell the truth, but don’t volunteer anything negative or damaging.
  • If you can’t comment, explain why. Don’t say “no comment,” which sounds like an admission of guilt.
  • Stay on the record at all times.
  • Maintain your “interview face” from the minute you enter the TV or radio station until you are safely outside.
  • Dress for a TV interview as you would for a meeting with a new client.
  • Talk to the reporter and ignore the camera when interviewed on TV.
  • Be yourself. Your expertise, experience and enthusiasm are powerful assets.

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